Auto World Museum opened its doors October 1, 1996 in a building locals called the “old K-Mart building” in Fulton, Missouri. The museum was the result of William E. Backer’s long desire to have a museum to display one of his lifelong passions – vintage vehicles. He had been collecting since the mid 1950s when he purchased a 1924 Canadian Dodge touring car. In the 1990s the collection had grown rapidly and needed a suitable home, so the building was purchased and the museum established. At the celebration of the museum’s 10th anniversary, in 2006 the collection relocated into its present home at 200 Peacock Drive, Fulton, MO. The new home displays the vehicles in period settings with billboard size photo backdrops and building facades putting them in proper historic perspective. There are informational panels with each vehicle and video kiosks that address the various vehicles’ place in human history.
Simultaneous with the move the museum took on a new identity. It transferred from one man’s passion to a not-for-profit foundation. Mr. Backer wanted his collection, which to a great extent was assembled to display automotive innovation through the years (with many cars specifically collected because they were the first or very early examples of certain engineering milestones), to continue to educate and delight generations to come, which resulted in the establishment of Auto World Museum Foundation. William E. Backer died in 2008, leaving this great museum as part of his legacy in Fulton, Callaway County, Missouri.
Today the museum houses approximately 80 vehicles from the larger collection. There is a gift shop with auto related items and logo merchandise.
In 2009 a portion of the museum was remodeled to accommodate events in this very cool unique setting.